An overview of the main events
The Shudanyamamise on the 13th is the only day where the festivities cross the river between Hakata and central Fukuoka. As the name Shudanyamamise (集団山見せ: viewing of the mountain group) suggests the Kakiyama (舁き山: carrying mountain) are brought to a gallery in front of Fukuokas main administration office and put on display.
Every year the Kakiyama are carried to Fukuoka over the river at 3:30 pm. but the Meji-dori, along which they are brought, usually fills up with spectators one and a half hours before that so if you want a good view, be sure to arrive early.
As a sign of the begin of the Shudanyamamise the departure of the first Kakiyama is accompanied by drums and fireworks.
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For this day the heads of local businesses, other celebrities and Fukuokas major climb atop a stage and congratulate the best district. The area before the stage is so crowded, that is can be hard to move at the time.
The procession of the Kakiyama can be watched from anywhere along the path and the Meiji-dori is wide enough for a lot of people to do so.
The procession attracts many people from the press and amateur photographers with their own stepladders every year. This can hinder the view a bit and often make good photo shooting without a bigger ladder difficult.
A popular spot is the slightly higher position atop the bridge since it offers a good view of the oncoming Kakiyama as the carriers still have the power to run and are cheered on by the crowd.
This part of Fukuoka is not within the former Hakata and was therefore not originally a location for the festival. It is said that when Hakata and Fukuoka merged, the organisers thought it important to include Fukuoka in the festival somehow and brought the Kakiyama into Fukuoka for one day.
After the carriers bring the Kakiyama to the Fukuoka administration office, they clap the Hakata-Teippon (certain clapping rhythm used by residents of Hakata when a task is finished) and return to Hakata.
Since 2010 the Kakiyama take an about 800 meters long detour though Fukuoka before arriving back on Meiji-dori and returning to Hakata.
In rescent years four of the districts come to the Kushida-shrine after the show and practise the presentation ceremony before the Kushida-shrine, that is called Kushida-iri and performed at the start of the Oiyama at 5 am. the next day.
The seats for watching the ceremony are still built up but not filled during this part, which gives even people who couldn’t get a ticket a chance to see the Kushida-iri.